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the new mac pro

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Im going to be listing the computers make/model along with the CPU as well in my results, since the large majority of users do not assemble their own custom rigs.

Along with this however, yes, I think a test file is in order, at minimum a document with a viewport along with the time it took the listed machines to render them.

There are other operations that I could include as well, just need to devise a simple method so that all users can execute the same tests in the same way. Updating a viewport is relatively easy, I may have a duplicate array test of some kind as well to test the general geometry/mathematical operation speed, if I can come up with something reliable and repeatable.

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Thank you for looking into this Jim.

This is very much appreciated!

Maybe some complex plug-in objects and a moderately complex DTM could be tested? Also, after the duplicate array test creates thousands of objects, a test for selection and deselection of the objects with the highlighting preference on and with it off. Things like this really effect the "snappiness" of VW.

I'm sure you'll have plenty of willing testers! :-)

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The test file should also incorporate sweeps with a defined segment angle and multiple complex Auto Hybrid Objects. Re-generating an Auto Hybrid Object is one of the slowest operations VW can perform.

Jim, which version of the C4D rendering engine is VW currently running? And in which mode (standard, physical)? There are lots of factors that affect the render speed vs the quality of rendering. I suspect VW isn't actually as optimized as it could be if it were using the laster C4D engine. On the rendering front I would look for Maxon to push these speeds forward. They are quite driven by the production nature of their primary market.

Kevin

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For the first iteration of it i think I'll keep a simple viewport update and a complex geometry calculation as the two sample operation tests. (Mostly because that keeps it simpler and at the moment this is still only a side project for me.)

Im thinking later on a "Designer Features" file that includes a site model update, an auto-hybrid regeneration, a roof creation, etc with times for each.

(The only reason I disagree with the selection highlighting test is for technical reasons in-house, it can change its behavior based on a few things unrelated to hardware power at the moment that would skew benching results randomly. Once thats sorted I would completely agree that it is an excellent metric.)

Edited by JimW

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Jim, which version of the C4D rendering engine is VW currently running? And in which mode (standard, physical)? There are lots of factors that affect the render speed vs the quality of rendering. I suspect VW isn't actually as optimized as it could be if it were using the laster C4D engine.

Many additional optimizations are needed in Vectorworks itself before we can take full advantage of C4Ds speed. Often the rendering engine is sitting and waiting idle for Vectorworks to process geometry and pass it along.

The current C4D engine used by Vectorworks 2014 is R14. As for the mode, I am not sure. When I asked, the answer was something to the effect of "there isn't a simple answer to that question" so most likely a combination of both depending upon context.

On Windows it comes with 32bit and 64bit, the engine itself detects which should be used on the system it is running on and launches the correct version accordingly. On OS X I believe it forces 64 bit now since Macs are almost completely 64 bit across the board.

Edited by JimW

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Renderworks 2014 is based on CINEMA 4D R14 and uses the Standard Renderer. The settings we use for indirect lighting are no different than C4D's presets for GI, for example. Low means preview in C4D, etc. etc. Just export the model to C4D to see what settings Renderworks is using.

Cinebench CPU speeds should be perfectly usable to get a handle of the relative Renderworks speeds for different hardware.

Nice to hear everyone is so willing to upgrade their old machines, supporting very old video cards was my #1 worry for the new OpenGL engine. You will have a much better VW experience with new hardware versus 6 year old hardware.

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for the "benchmark file" why don't we all add to it

someone has a dtm (i have one that i can donate)

someone else has an array of items etc

i have a shape file of all the roads in vermont i can donate that. zooming in and out is jumpy

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I may call for that in the future, for now we will likely keep it simple, especially since a lot of users don't have access to/use Site Model objects.

Not that it isnt a good idea and needed, just that this is going to be limited for the time being.

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I'm interested in upgrading from my 27-inch, mid 20011 iMac 3.4 Ghz Intel Core i7 to a new Mac Pro. I'd like to upgrade to higher specs from the base model if it will increase performance, but I don't want to spend unnecessarily. My biggest concern is speeding up Renderworks rendering times.

1. Processor

Intel Xeon 3.7Ghz Quad Core vs 3.5Ghz 6-Core vs 3.0Ghz 8-Core vs 2.7Ghz 12-Core: Will Vectorworks take advantage of the multiple cores? The more cores, the faster the renderings?

2. Graphics

Dual AMD FirePro D300 vs D500 vs D700: Will Vectorworks be able to take advantage of the larger VRAM, wider memory bus and larger memory bandwidth? Will a higher graphics card speed up renderings?

3. Memory

From 12GB to 64GB. Is there a limit to the amount of memory Vectorworks will take advantage of?

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HI Sky

We purchased a refurbished Mac Pro earlier in the year and noticed a huge difference in performance. Very robust, and seems to be able to render all day if needed. Very happy with it, not sure about the new version, I prefer the larger case that allows for easy upgrades. New hard drive in less than 5 min.

All cores are used when renderworks is used, but not during other operations. I've read that our six core unit hits a sweet spot between price and performance.

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1) The main difference you will see here is in the speed of Renderworks renderings. Even the lowest processor offered in that machine is more than enough for regular drafting, but the higher end models will extremely reduce rendering time. When it comes to Renderworks, the more cores the better.

2) Graphics cards will not affect flat Renderworks renderings, but the more powerful the card the better Plan/wireframe navigation and OpenGL will be, especially in upcoming releases.

3) Its unlikely you will be able to push Vectorworks/Renderworks hard enough to use more than 12GB of RAM on its own, anything over 8GB is usually plenty.

Edited by JimW

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Thank you to both of you. This is very helpful.

So if I want to upgrade from the base model, I should spend on increasing the number of processors and not worry about the higher graphics cards or increasing memory.

When I look at my iMac now when doing renderings, it only seems to be using 6.5 gb of memory (1.25 wired, 5.25 active) leaving the rest available (5.25 inactive, 0 free). So that seems to corroborate the idea that buying more memory will not increase rendering times.

It looks like ship times have already pushed out to February, so I guess I won't be getting a new computer any time soon!

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Does the amount of L3 cache on the processor make a huge difference?

The 3.5Ghz 6-core with 12mb L3 cache is a $500 upgrade but the 3.0Ghz 8-core has 25mb of L3 cache but is $2000 more!

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for me the six core makes the most sense. fast and affordable. the problem now is when will it be available. went from shipping Dec 30 to now just saying Feb is that Feb 1 or Feb 28.

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Bryan, did you already order yours?

I've been trolling around for benchmarks.

A 6-core should have a 71% increase in speed (10720 to 18309 in 32-bit). Cost +$500

A 8-core should have a 120% increase in speed (11796 to 25996 in 64-bit). Cost +$2000

A 12- core should have a 180% increase in speed (11796 to 33066 in 64-bit). Cost +$3500

There isn't official benchmarks for the new Mac Pro yet, so these are being pulled off what is presumably Apple testing their own set ups with Geekbench 3.

Lots to think about... Maybe I should set up a price to performance ratio graph to visually see this...

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Maybe your question is a joke?

Top of the line Mac mini (Late 2012) with Intel Core i7 has a 64-bit multicore score of 12546.

Top of the line Mac Pro (Late 2013) with 12-core Xeon has a 64-bit multicore score of 33066.

The Mac Pro is almost 3 times as fast.

Edited by Sky

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weak, I know - sorry.

though the < 3x comparison is pretty interesting nonetheless.

I'm following this thread with interest - if the shipments hadn't been pushed out so far I'd likely be more actively looking at the nMP.

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Will this outperform a MacMini?

Jim?

The answer when it comes to Vectorworks, surprisingly, is only sometimes.

In Renderworks renderings, yes the Mac Pro will knock the stuffing out of the Mac Mini.

For regular top/plan operations or geometry calculations, the speed is currently limited by the software to a greater extent than the hardware and for things like duplicating an object thousands of times, they would probably complete the action in around the same amount of time.

Moving forward however, upcoming releases of Vectorworks will be able to take advantage of the greater hardware and everything in Vectorworks will be faster and more stable by far on the Mac Pro compared to the Mini.

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Hi Jim,

Thanks for being so involved in this conversation.

Add my vote to spending development energy toward speeding up the 2D operations and display by any means necessary. I have really appreciated those improvements over the last three releases, and I'm excited to hear that future releases may harness the greater hardware capabilities of the new Mac Pro (and the increasingly powerful graphics cards in all computers).

As a lighting designer, I spend the vast majority of my time in Top/Plan. So while improvements to the rendering engine are welcome, it's really the improvements to 2D operations and display that add up to an increase in my productivity.

Cheers,

~Paul

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suggestion for a benchmark file for

"regular top/plan operations or geometry calculations"

http://youtu.be/Vwq7fEsxqsA

jim's comment is a game changer if you do mostly 2d

Im working on doing something exactly like that. So far the problem has been getting a script that can time it automatically or give some sort of "score" afterwards. Currently I have to time the operations manually which isn't great for a standardized test.

The one that will be finished first is a Renderworks benchmark file with viewports set up a certain way so that the only variable is the users hardware.

JimW this is what i am dealing with

http://youtu.be/vZfCE6lrRWc

so are you saying that the new macpro may not give me a great advantage over the latest machine? ($2000 difference between the 2)

For that im not exactly sure how MUCH of an improvement there would be, it can be very file-dependant sometimes. If you can send me that import at tech@vectorworks.net i can check it on a few machines here and give you a much better idea of if the hardware upgrade is worth the cost or not.

Edited by JimW

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